Building a Toe Alignment Tool

This page provides information on building a toe alignment tool out of simple steel parts, often found in a scrap yard or around the house.  A toe alignment tool basically measures the amount of toe in or out, by comparing the width of a mark on the two front tires, as measured from the back side of the tire to the front side of the tire.  The height of the actual measurement is 6 inches above the floor.  Typcial toe measurements are 1/4" to 1/8" inward.  Please consult your specific vehicle's needs for toe.

The list of parts that you need to build a toe alignment tool are:

Approx. 8 feet of 1" steel tubing

2 flat plates, 1/8" thick, 2-4" wide and 10-12" long

2 1" box steel tubing, 2" long

2 1" box steel tubing, 1 3/8" long

2 1" box steel tubing, approx. 1" long

4 1 1/2" box steel tubing, 1/8" thick tubing, 1 1/2" long

4 5/16" x18 x 3/4" long thumb screws

2 5/16" x 18 x1 1/2" long thumb screws

2 1/4" round stock, 8" long

Here's a couple of pictures of the parts needed (minus the thumb screws):


Start by welding the 2" long 1" box tube pieces onto the flat plate.  The long direction goes upwards.  Align the 1.5" box steel on top of the stand, with the hole perpendicular to the direction of the long direction of the plate.  Do this on both pieces, and insert the long 8' bar into the 1.5" box steel hole.  Make sure everything is level, and weld the 1.5" box steel onto the 1" box steel stand.  Drill a 1/4" hole at 45 degrees downward from the top/side of the 1.5" box steel.  Tap this hole for a 5/16" x 18 screw.  When done on both sides, you'll have finished the base-stand of the toe alignment tool:

Now start with the 1.5" box steel, and place the 1 3/8" 1" box steel standing on end on top of the larger box steel.  Weld the two pieces together, and then repeat for the other side.  Now place the 1" box steel, approx. 1" long, on its side, with the "hole" pointing in a direction perpendicular to the 1.5" box steel hole.  Weld the top piece onto the 1" vertical stand-off piece.  It should look like this:

The welds don't have to be terribly strong, as there is not going to be a lot of force applied to the tool.  

Now drill a 1/4" hole at 45 degrees on the large box steel piece (at the top side), and another on the top/side on the uppermost piece.  Tap these holes for 5/16" x 18 screws.  Repeat this for the other side.

Take the round stock and grind one end of each piece down to a point.  Bend the round stock by insertion into a vise and create a curve that creates the correct height of 6" at the pointed tip.  The round stock fits into the top piece of the stand-off and is held in place by a 1.5" long thumbscrew.

When done, the toe alignment tool should look like this:

And a close-up of one side looks like:

The costs for this tool for me was fairly small.  I had 10' of 1" square tubing and the two flat plates lying around from previous projects.  The 6" of 1.5" square stock was $2.50, the 16" of 1/4" round stock was also $2.50, and the 3/4" thumbscrews were $0.20 each, and the 1.5" thumbscrews were $0.30 ea.  The thumbscrews were not available at any local hardware stores, so they were ordered, so shipping and handling was $3.78.  McMaster-Carr sells these thumbscrews, but only in amounts of 50.  Total cost of parts was $10.58.